Cessnock Council staff recommend draft East Cessnock Flying Fox Camp Management Plan be adopted

HANGING AROUND: Hundreds of bats remain in the trees on the corner of Old Maitland Road and Long Street in September 2017. Picture: Krystal Sellars
HANGING AROUND: Hundreds of bats remain in the trees on the corner of Old Maitland Road and Long Street in September 2017. Picture: Krystal Sellars

A plan to manage the East Cessnock flying fox colony will be tabled at Wednesday’s Cessnock City Council meeting.

Council staff will recommend the East Cessnock Flying Fox Camp Management Plan be adopted, and that the council work with all relevant landowners and state agencies to seek grant funding to help with implementing the plan.

Thousands of flying foxes have taken up residence on Crown land at the corner of Long Street and Old Maitland Road, on and off over the past six years.

The bat colony reached its peak in May 2016, when numbers were estimated at 47,000 – causing grief for nearby residents with noise, smell and mess.

That same month, Cessnock City Council received $10,000 from the Office of Environment and Heritage to help develop the plan to manage the protected species.

The OEH provided a further $15,000 for the camp management plan in October.

Council liaised with the Department of Industry – Lands and Forestry, the Office of Environment and Heritage, the Department of Education, Cessnock East Public School, the Bat Support Group and local residents to prepare the plan.

Feedback from the ‘FlyingfoxEngage’ community survey also contributed to the development of the plan.

The plan’s core objectives are to “minimise the impacts of the bat colony on the community, while conserving flying foxes and their habitat and enable land managers and stakeholders to exercise a range of suitable management responses to sustainably manage flying foxes”, the council report says. 

Management opportunities in the plan include routine actions such as removal of tree limbs, whole trees, noxious weeds and leaf litter; education and awareness programs; property modifications; buffer creation and protocols to manage incidents.

A couple of thousand bats remain at the East Cessnock site.

RELATED CONTENT

July 26, 2017: Last call for say on bat camp plan

June 26, 2017: Bat solution a step closer

February 27, 2017: Flying fox committee tables report

February 20, 2017: Flying fox rescuer inundated after heatwave

November 25, 2016: Public hearing highlights difficult issue of flying fox problem

November 22, 2016: Public hearing for bat inquiry

November 9, 2016: Residents dreading bats’ return

November 4, 2016: Inquiry into flying foxes to go ahead

October 6, 2016: More cash for bat camp plan

September 1, 2016: Have your say on bat management

June 23, 2016: Time to make some noise around the bats

May 31, 2016: East Cessnock bat camp plan funded

May 26, 2016: Councillor wants laws altered

May 26, 2016: Another bat blaze in Cessnock

May 22, 2016: 'Somebody has tried to burn the bats' 

May 19, 2016: Fitzgibbon angered over federal bat funding on South Coast but not Hunter

May 17, 2016: Flying fox camp that's driving Merv batty

May 15, 2016: Stock whip 'secret weapon' in fight against bats

April 20, 2016: Girl steps on bat skull in Millfield

April 7, 2016: The Hunter's bat infestation

April 7, 2016: A seriously batty situation

March 15, 2016: 'Under siege' by flying foxes | VIDEO

February 9, 2016: Noisy neighbours driving residents batty; Risk of being attacked is extremely low, says vet

September 11, 2013: Steps towards solving batty situation